Poetry in the construction of a new life
Por: Hector Kunene
We live in the society that forever changes. Change on its own is good but not easy. We are not taught how to accept change. More especially when change has to start with us and within us. It is not easy at all. On the broader perspective, every household has its rules and regulations. Whether one grows in Africa or in Europe, the same rule applies, we are all growing under a hand that feeds us what it is exposed to. You can never take someone to where you have never been unless you are a prophet. So growing up is a process that guides us throughout our journey of life. Whether we like it or not, change directly affects us.
I was never taught about change, I often heard mothers talking about the changes of the weather when they gossiped over the fences whilst doing laundry. There is nobody under the sun who is not burned by the very sun when it places its eye upon the blue skies neither is there anyone who can avoid the tears of the sky when it begins to cry.
Nature preserves herself for herself first then her people. Nobody voted the weather into power thus it does not report to human beings when it deems fit to scorching our skins and peels us like the scales of fishes. Just like the spirit of poetry when it comes, it seeks for no permission, it is either you learn to adapt or remain bothered about it. I find it intriguing that I am the chosen amongst my bloodline to carry the banner of poetry and broaden myself to be able to accommodate those I am sent to. The truth is we are not all sent to everyone but to someone. Poetry as a tool to bring about change in us, in our families that we mostly and directly connected to has a way of turning things around. It is as if it targets those who are less supported so they may choose to give in or surrender their craft! Speaking form experience, my family wishes that I study civil engineering instead of drama and theatre. So according to them poetry is not a stable subject that can generate wealth. So the change that were never instilled to them is now following my shadow wherever I go. This is because their parents could not take them where they had never been, so the fear lingers in them that every child in the hood is wearing a graduation gown because of doctorates and accountancy but a degree in Drama and theatre to them is far -fetched let alone coming home in December with a qualification of some sort from Drama and Theatre. Change remains difficult in all areas when you are not ready for it.
As we construct a new life in the world of poetry, we are skilled to handle the crowd because this is what we do! We have constantly accepted change in our obliviousness and somehow it jells in and gets more interesting so it is imperative to leave some space in the mind in order to grasp and learn as much as we really can.
A new life in the world may not come as a surprise and may not go unnoticed. That is why it is crucial to write poems for they preserve the narrations of times in their differences. They color colorless clouds with a colorless color thus the tears of the sky remain colorless.
The construction of a new life in the world begins with self. It begins with me. How much do I adapt in to this new life? What benefits does it have for me and what are my fears if there are any in it. Again here we see change. We have to go with the times thou we do not have to conform to the norms of the times. I am more than glad to lead my own life in the changing world. I write my own feelings and express them verbally in the times where the world wants to dictate with implemented systems, take for instance social media, it has a great impact and leads by far in generating cash flow for those who are in it. This is commendable, it is someone else’s idea who must have seen a gap of demand and they supplied.
I am also seeing a gap in the blue sky, there is so much that one can do. The sky is not even a limit. We have had the greats who came and paved the way and left and still there was enough space for the new born. Even after us, after we have created a great impact, written thesis’s and stored our books in the libraries and the world has celebrated us and we received rooms in people’s heart, there are many that will come after us and do even greater works than what we would have done. In my 30’s I still have a very long way to go, I am on a great journey, with this journey comes responsibility, consciousness and lots of risks in which I have to ensure that I live long enough to tell the tale of my purpose in life through my art.
Every second counts. Till this day we are still walking in the footsteps of giants like T.S. Elliot, William Shakespeare and Don Materra. The likes of Dr. Gcina Mhlophe whom we grew up listening to their folktales and poems. These are the people who gave their time and skill to shape the society to be what it is today. Literature remains by far a great tool used to bring people together and find humanity that seems to be growing unhealthy wings. Contently we are yielding to a place where we will not talk to each other because machines have come to take over. Technology divides humanity in the name of a simpler better life demand. For where there is a demand, supply is inevitable. Writers have opted for gadgets but can you blame them? These gadgets are able to do many things all in the palm of our hands at a short space of time.
“Life always holds in store surprises that are more complex and unforeseeable than any dream, and the secret is to let them come and not block them with castles in the air.” ― Álvaro Mutis.
Mutis was a Columbian poet and essayist, his view on life still resonates on par with the current yet forever changing lifestyle. Life indeed holds surprises and we must embrace them when they are presented unto us. I am presented with a lifetime opportunity to go and share my work in Columbia, this will be my first tour to Europe and I am looking forward to it. I will give my all and I cannot wait for July. I refuse to block the opportunities with the castle in the air.
Hector Kunene hails from Kwazulu Natal in a location called Hammarsdale situated just outside Durban. He was born in 1982 and grew up and moved to Johannesburg to finish his matric and started working at O.R Tambo International Airport for a catering company as a manager.
His love for poetry had already started back at high school but was suppressed due to work and only in 2010 he published his first anthology called Through the tunnel in Cape Town at New Voices Publishing, it was then followed by an biography of Omoseye Bolaji then after that in 2014 he published a children’s story called Mantlwane (Houses) then in 2016 he collaborated with an artist Nthabiseng Jahrose Jafta and published together a book of love poems called My muse which was adapted into a play in which both poets acted on stage.